Danisco USA plugs the prebiotic-probiotic combo
probiotics for digestive health and immunity, Danisco USA held a
symposium on the science behind these ingredients.
Shortly following the event, the company received approval in the US for use of its Litesse polydextrose prebiotic in yoghurt applications. Yoghurt has been the delivery system of choice for bringing probiotics to North American consumers, and now Danisco is looking to put prebiotics in this mix. In combination, prebiotic fiber and probiotics have the potential to cover a wider spectrum of digestive health and therefore have a greater effect on immunity. And Danisco says digestive health and immunity are growing in popularity in the US. "Asia and Europe have traditionally had a lot more development in these areas," Ariella Gastel, senior business manager of health and nutrition with Danisco USA, told NutraIngredients-USA. Speakers at Danisco's second Health & Nutrition Symposium included both academics and industry experts who spoke on topics including genomics as a tool for understanding probiotic action, the US regulatory environment and structure function claims, as well as incorporating fiber, prebiotics and probiotics into food and dietary supplements. The company's first Health & Nutrition Symposium was held in Denmark and was on the topic of general health. "This one was specifically on digestive and immune system health because we thought there was a lot of interest in the US," said Gastel. According to the organizers, appropriate language for health claims was of interest to the audience at the symposium because manufacturers want to know what label claims they can make about a product, as well as what experts think is substantiated by current science. The nearly 150 attendees in Madison, Wisconsin included food and dietary supplement manufacturers, nutritionists, academia and other researchers. "A symposium like this is not only an opportunity for Danisco to showcase the high level science that underpins our probiotic and specialty carbohydrate products," said Tom Knutzen, CEO of Danisco. Danisco has developed its branded Howaru probiotics for use in new applications including juice, cheese and chocolate, as well as in the traditional dairy categories, such as yoghurt. The concept of probiotics has taken longer to catch on in the US than in Europe, where it has long been a staple in the functional food market. However, thanks in large part to Danone's Activia yogurt campaign, probiotics are making an increasing appearance in US dairy aisles and functional products beyond. The probiotic spoonable market in the US went from $112m in 2001 to $294m in 2006, according to Euromonitor International. While the yogurt side of the probiotic market may have been the launch pad for consumer awareness of the concept, growth also appears to have trickled down to the dietary supplement industry as well. The retail market for probiotic supplements in North America grew from $152.2mn in 2002 to $293mn in 2006, according to Euromonitor.